Ex-Blockparty CTO Arrested for Stealing Company’s Bitcoin

Rikesh Thapa was arrested in California for allegedly swindling $1 million from the company to fund his lavish lifestyle

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A former chief technology officer of NFT platform Blockparty was arrested and charged for allegedly extorting $1 million, which he agreed to hold in his account while the company looked for a banking partner.

Rikesh Thapa, a 28-year-old from San Diego, California, used his leadership position to steal at least 10 bitcoin for his own advantage between December 2017 and September 2019, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

He allegedly used the assets on personal expenses including nightclubs, travel and clothing. Thapa faked records to cover his tracks.

“The defendant repeatedly stole from and defrauded the victim company — which he cofounded — in order to fund a luxurious personal lifestyle,” said Michael J. Driscoll, FBI assistant director in charge.

New Jersey-based Blockparty ventured out as a blockchain-based event ticketing platform in 2017, but the company launched an NFT creation and sale platform in 2020.

Blockparty was allegedly looking to branch out its banking options at a time when financial institutions were reluctant to transact with crypto companies in 2018. So, Thapa decided to hold $1 million of the platform’s money in his personal bank account while it figured out alternatives.

Blockworks reached out to Blockparty for comment but didn’t hear back by press time.

Thapa purportedly told a colleague that the funds were “a stationary 1mil in my account” that was not “touched or interacted with.” But he actually blew it on personal expenses.

In the summer of 2019, Blockparty’s CEO allegedly asked Thapa to return the $1 million. But he was refused, as the defendant said he needed to discuss potential tax consequences with an accountant and attorney. He resigned soon after.

Additionally, Thapa allegedly stole some 174,285 of Blockparty’s utility tokens to sell them to supposed investors in return for cash — without alerting the CEO. He later claimed the cash received was counterfeit.

He faces 20 years in prison if convicted on one count of wire fraud.


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